NEW SPRINGVILLE, Staten Island (PIX11) — Being a Girl Scout is all about courage, confidence and character.
There’s a very special troop out on Staten Island selling their Girl Scout cookies to raise money for a troop that includes every little girl who wants to join regardless of ability or disability.
Troop 75312 on Staten Island is for girls 5 to 21 years old with a range of disabilities and their siblings. It is believed to be the only all-inclusive group in the five boroughs.
Some have autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome or another physical or intellectual disability, but they all have one thing in common.
They love being Girl Scouts.
“I love Girl Scouts because I love helping people in need,” Jillian Viruet, a 14-year-old Girl Scout, told PIX11 News.
This troop was started 21 years ago by Lisa Rosenfeld, whose own daughters had loved being Girl Scouts so much that Lisa wanted to make sure that every little girl could have the same opportunity.
“We are the only troop of its kind in the five boroughs,” Lisa Rosenfeld, Troop 75312 leader, told PIX11 News. “We have girls that come to us from all five boroughs.”
Being part of this Girl Scout Troop has helped so many girls, like 19-year-old Katherine. Her mother said she stopped talking during the pandemic but is now verbal again.
“I love that it is all-inclusive,” Andrea Brown, mother of a scout, told PIX11 News. “My daughter feels comfortable and she fits in perfectly.”
Her 19-year-old daughter agreed. “It’s so much fun,” Katherine Brown, a Girl Scout member, told PIX11 News. “We do so many different things.”
Michele Kertesz, a Park Slope mother, comes from Brooklyn so that both her girls can be in the same Girl Scout troop together.
“Everything here is very accommodating,” Michele Kertesz told PIX11 News. “If one person can’t do it, none of us can do it. It’s a real team.”
Olivia Kertesz, a 7-year-old Girl Scout in a wheelchair, said, “I learned that every Girl Scout matters.”
Her big sister, Adrianna, 11, added, “In this Girl Scout troop, everyone is welcomed. No one is left out.”
Girl Scout Troop 75312 will be back on April 22, selling their cookies in front of the HomeGoods store on Richmond Avenue and then, on April 30, they’ll be selling their cookies at Wolf Pond Park. Both days are from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.